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Local businesses gear up for Small Business Saturday

Retailers will offer specials, incentives to shoppers

Black Friday has long been known as the day to get special deals to kick off the holiday shopping season. But locally owned businesses around Kane County have plenty of great reasons to shop small Nov. 24 as part of Small Business Saturday.

Not only will shoppers find personalized attention at local shops, but many merchants are offering goodies, discounts and gifts with a purchase to encourage residents to support local businesses Nov. 24 and throughout the holiday season.

The Little Traveler in Geneva has so many specials over Thanksgiving weekend that the store will be handing out a menu to shoppers. All 36 rooms will offer something different, including gifts with a purchase and discounts. Some of the deals include a Christmas tree ramekin and jelly gift set with any Stonewall Kitchens purchase, 25 percent off all lighted holiday pictures in the wall decor department, 25 percent off Alex & Ani jewelry, 10 percent off Christmas cards and bags and much more.

“Our staff can give great recommendations for gifts,” owner Mike Simon said. “Shoppers will find things here that they won’t find in big-box stores. Many of our items can be personalized.”

This is the first Small Business Saturday for downtown Geneva’s Scentcerely Yours, and shoppers will get one free premade candle for every three purchased and a 30-ounce birch candle container with a purchase.

“We’re excited [for Small Business Saturday],” owner Susi Brucato said. “I think it will be a great day for us because the Geneva community supports small businesses.”

Jeans and a Cute Top in St. Charles is offering 20 percent off the entire store all weekend. Manager Marlaine Smith said the store has seen a big jump in traffic on Small Business Saturday.

“It’s an important day for us,” she said. “Everyone wants to support local businesses on that day. It’s an honor that people come on that day just to support us because they want to see small businesses succeed.”

In addition to great deals at local retailers, Small Business Saturday coincides with the Downtown St. Charles Partnership’s Holiday Homecoming Weekend. Shoppers can take a horse-drawn trolley ride along First Street, visit with Santa in the First Street Plaza and see live holiday window displays from St. Charles dance troupes at 15 downtown businesses.

“Shopping local is so important,” said Jenna Sawicki, executive director of Downtown St. Charles Partnership. “When you shop local, you’re supporting local families. And there’s nothing better than a friendly greeting when you walk into local shops.”

Shoppers in Batavia will receive a “Shop Batavia” tote bag, decorated by Batavia High School students, when they make a purchase at participating local businesses, and will also be entered into a raffle to win a gift certificate that can be used at downtown businesses. Anyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy donation into any of the businesses will also receive a raffle ticket.

“When you shop at a local business, you’re keeping the money in our community,” said Chris Faber, executive director of Batavia MainStreet. “The Small Business Saturday movement has caught on. People realize that it’s important to keep as much money in their community.”

The Elburn Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 24th annual Christmas Stroll from 4 to 8 p.m. on Small Business Saturday, and merchants along Main Street are staying open later to accommodate shoppers. Many retailers will offer cookies, candy canes or hot cocoa, said Tracy Leach, administrator at Elburn Chamber of Commerce.

“This is Elburn’s way of kicking off the holiday season. The town will be decorated and lit up, and there will be hay rides, live reindeer, Santa, carolers and other events,” she said. “When people support local businesses, they’re supporting family-owned businesses that have been here for generations.”

Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express and has had a significant impact on local economies. A study by American Express found that two-thirds of every dollar spent at local businesses stays in the community.

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